Why Getting A Child Support Order Matters
Raising children as a divorced or single parent is challenging, particularly when it comes to meeting your child’s expenses. If you and their other parent have been able to agree on a certain amount of child support, you may not feel the need to press the issue by taking them to court to get a formal order in place. Unfortunately, there are several ways in which this could hurt you and your child financially, while putting your ability to meet ongoing costs and future expenses in jeopardy.
Benefits Of Court Ordered Child Support
Child support guidelines are set by the state and listed under Section 61.30 of the Florida State Statutes. There are three main benefits for establishing court ordered child support for your child:
- Ensures you are getting the appropriate amount needed to cover costs and expenses.
In mutual agreements between parents, the amount agreed upon as being ‘reasonable’ for one of them to pay may not consider the total amount of the child’s expenses, or it may be such as small portion of their total earnings as to deprive the child of financial support they would legally be entitled to receive.
Under Florida child support guidelines, parents are required to provide proof of all income, including earnings, stock dividends, and proceeds from businesses or real estate. A minimum amount of support is determined based on both the income of the parents and the child’s basic needs, which includes the following:
- Basic living expenses;
- Costs for schools, books, and uniforms;
- Recreational, social, and developmental needs;
- Healthcare expenses, including both insurance and out of pocket costs.
- Ensures regular payments.
Once child support is ordered by the court, it can be legally enforced if the other party fails to pay the total amount. This provides for stability for both the child and the parent receiving the support. If child support payments lapse, are not made on time, or do not include the full amount, the person responsible for paying could be subject to enforcement actions through the Florida Department of Revenue, which may include wage garnishment and liens on accounts, as well as penalties for non-payment, such as suspension of driving privileges.
- Allows for changes as needed depending on circumstances or fluctuations in income.
While there does have to be a considerable change in circumstances for a child support order to be changed, having an order in place still allows for flexibility. If the other parent experiences an increase in income or if the child’s needs increase, a modification of the order can be sought. This protects the paying parent as well, as the amount they are obligated to pay may be decreased if there is a loss of income.
Reach Out to Us for Help
For answers to your questions about child support, modifications, and how to enforce an existing order, call or contact Hancock & Associates, P.A. online today. We can arrange a free consultation with our Florida child support attorney in our Orlando or Tampa office to discuss the options available in your situation.